Chaired By: Senator John Kerry (D-MA)
Witness: Richard Holbrooke, Special Rep. for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Department of State
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SEN. KERRY: Good morning. This hearing will come to order. We were going to have the business meeting as rapidly as possible at the beginning, but until we have requisite 10 senators we're not able to do that. So what we'll do is start the hearing component, and as soon as we have 10 senators here we'll do the business meeting component and then move on. Ambassador Holbrooke, thank you for your willingness to indulge us and allow us to do that.
With its nuclear arsenal, it's terrorist safe havens, Taliban sanctuaries, and the growing insurgency, Pakistan has emerged as one of the most difficult foreign policy challenges that we face. We're fortunate to have with us today to share his views one of America's most accomplished diplomats, Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, who will share with us the results of the now two trilateral meetings that have taken place as well as his own travels to the region and efforts to revitalize American policy in the region.
Last Thursday this committee hosted Pakistani President Asif Zardari along with Afghan President Karzai for a working lunch. And the trilateral meetings that were held in Washington last week I think provided the basis of increased cooperation of some progress. For most of the past eight years just getting Pakistani and Afghan officials in the same room required, frankly, a Herculean effort. Committee members during this luncheon asked some very tough questions. It was a very frank exchange, I must say a unique exchange in my experience, at luncheons with two presidents of countries with different interests. And they were both very gracious in taking those questions and then providing the committee and the guests who were there an important opportunity to be able to really examine American policy and to hear the leaders of those countries express their views.
We're not looking for perfection, but we do have a need to make progress and to redefine some aspects of the policy, and we need to work together: Congress, the administration, the Pakistanis, the Afghans. And the stakes are really much too high for anything less than our maximum cooperative effort.
But Pakistan today frankly has the potential either to be crippled by the Taliban or to serve as a bulwark against everything that the Taliban represents. For many of us in Congress and the administration recent events have only reaffirmed our belief that we need a bold new strategy. The enhanced partnership with Pakistan Act which I've introduced with Senator Lugar is the centerpiece of the new approach designed to redefine not only America's policy toward Pakistan but also our relations with the Pakistani people. I'm pleased that the President has asked Congress to pass it.
Ultimately it will be the Pakistani people, not Americans, who will determine their nation's future. The good news is that for all of its current troubles, Pakistan remains a nation whose 170 million citizens are overwhelmingly moderate, whose own soldiers and police have died fighting terrorism and insurgency, a country that has committed itself to a very difficult democratic transition, even at a moment of enormous strain.
I look forward to hearing Ambassador Holbrooke's thoughts on how we can empower those Pakistanis fighting to steer the world's second largest Muslim country on to a path of moderation, stability, and regional cooperation.
Since President Obama called on Congress to pass a Pakistan aid bill, the dangers of inaction have risen almost by the day. The government has struck an ill-advised deal that effectively surrendered the Swat Valley to the Taliban. Predictably this emboldened the Taliban to extend their reach ever closer to the country's heartland. In recent days we've seen encouraging signs that Pakistan's army is finally taking the fight to the enemy, but much remains to be done.
Even as we help Pakistan's government to respond to an acute crisis, we also need to mend a broken relationship with the Pakistani people. For decades America sought Pakistani cooperation through military aid while paying scant attention to the wishes and needs of the population itself. This arrangement is rapidly disintegrating. Today an alarming number of Pakistanis actually view America as a greater threat than al Qaeda. Until this changes, there is frankly little chance of ending tolerance for terrorist groups or for persuading any Pakistani government to devote the political capital necessary to deny such groups sanctuary and covert material support.
I've seen first-hand how American aid can in fact have a transformative effect. After the 2005 Cashmere earthquake, America spent nearly $1 billion on relief efforts. I can personally attest that the sight of American servicemen and women saving the lives of Pakistani citizens in places like Monseran and Muzaffarabad was invaluable in changing perceptions of America. Now we have to recreate the success on a broader scale.
The enhanced partnership with Pakistan Act is an important first step. On the economic side it triples nonmilitary aid to $1.5 billion annually for five years, and there is an additional five years of funding. These funds will build schools, roads, clinics; in other words, undertake those kinds of projects on a regular basis to achieve the kind of connection with the Pakistani people that we did in the course of the earthquake relief.
Of course our aid to Pakistan aims to achieve more than just good deeds. It will empower the civilian government to show that it can deliver its citizens a better life, but at the center of any strategy, and I'm sure Ambassador Holbrooke will underscore this, at the center of any strategy is the effort by the government of Pakistan itself to build its own relationship with its own people.
To do this right, we believe that we have to make a long-term commitment. Most Pakistanis feel that America has used and abandoned their country in the past, most notably after the jihad against the Soviets in Afghanistan. It is this history and this fear that causes Pakistan and many Pakistanis to hedge their bets. If we ever expect Pakistan to break decisively with the Taliban and other extremist groups, then they need to know that we're not merely momentary friends. And they also need to know, I might add, unlike the last eight years, that we are not principally focused on a relationship with a leader of the country as opposed to the people of the country.
On the security side, the bill places reasonable conditions on military aid. It asks the administration to certify that Pakistan's army and spy services have been partners in the struggle against al Qaeda, the Taliban and their affiliates, and also partners in the effort to solidify democratic governance and the rule of law in Pakistan.
As important as the economic and military components of our aid to Pakistan are, it is also important how they fit together. An unequivocal commitment to the Pakistani people will enable us to calibrate our military assistance more effectively. For too long the Pakistani military has felt that we were simply bluffing when we threatened to cut funding for a particular weapon system or an expensive piece of hardware. And up to now they have been right.
But if our economic aid is significantly larger, i.e. tripled as Senator Lugar and I proposed, we will finally be able to make these choices on the basis of both our national interests rather than the institutional interests of the Pakistani security forces.
Even as we take bold steps, we should realize that our aid package to Pakistan is not a silver bullet. This bill aims to increase our leverage significantly, but we need to be realistic about what we can accomplish. Americans can influence events in Pakistan, but we cannot and should not decide them. Ultimately the true decision-makers are the people of Pakistan and the leaders of Pakistan, and that's the way it will be going forward.
Ask a resident, not even an elderly one of Lahore or Karachi or Beshear what these places used to be like, and you will reveries of a time that now seems a world away. We need to help Pakistan once again become a nation of stability, security, and prosperity, enjoying peace at home and abroad, a nation in short that older Pakistanis remember from their childhoods. It's this nation that most Pakistanis desperately want to reclaim. And I'm eager to hear Ambassador Holbrooke's thoughts on how we encourage the Pakistan people to choose a peaceful, stable future and offer them the best that we can offer which is a helping hand in the effort to get there.
With Senator Lugar's indulgence, I'd now ask that we open the business meeting portion of the morning.
(Note: The business meeting portion of the hearing was not transcribed.)
SEN. KERRY: Senator Lugar?
SEN. RICHARD LUGAR (R-IN): Well, thank you much, Mr. Chairman. I join you in welcoming Ambassador Holbrooke. We're grateful he's come today to share his insights on Pakistan and the Kerry/Lugar legislation. The Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009 sustains the objectives outlined in the bill I introduced last year with then Senator Biden. Senator Kerry and I have listened carefully to those conducting a strategic review on U.S. policy in South Asia, and we've tried to ensure consistency with the President's goals.
This hearing gives members an opportunity to review the situation in Pakistan as well as the United States policy options and the resources that may be required to achieve them. The United States has an intense strategic interest in Pakistan and the surrounding region. U.S. national intelligence estimate last year painted a bleak picture of the converging crises in Pakistan. A growing al Qaeda sanctuary and expanding Taliban insurgency, political brinksmanship, a failing economy are intensifying turmoil and violence in that country, and these circumstances are a threat to Pakistan, the region and the United States.
Our legislation is intended to take advantage of the opportunity for revitalizing our relationship through greater diplomatic engagement as well as a commitment to economic and political development. It calls for significant increases in the United States and international economic support alongside relevant military assistance linked to Pakistani performance against terrorism. We seek strong cooperation with the Pakistan government, continued improvement in Indo-Pak relations, the secure management of Pakistan's nuclear program, and the development of Afghanistan as a free and stable country governed by the rule of law.
While our bill envisions sustained economic and political cooperation with Pakistan, it is not a blank check. The bill subjects our security assistance to a certification that the Pakistani government is using the money for its intended purpose, namely to combat the Taliban and al Qaeda.
The bill also calls for tangible progress in governance including an independent judiciary, greater accountability by the central government, respect for human rights and civilian control of the military and intelligence agencies.
Our bill also contains provisions to help ensure the development funds are spent effectively and efficiently. It stipulates that the administration must provide Congress with a comprehensive assistance strategy before additional assistance is made available. And once money begins to flow, the administration must report every six months on how the money is spent and what impact it's having.
In addition, the bill provides that before the administration spends more than half of the $1.5 billion authorized in any fiscal year it must certify that the assistance provided to that date is making substantial progress toward the principal objectives contained in the administration's strategy report.
We also have asked the Government Accountability Office to review annually the administration's progress on stated goals, and we authorized $20 million each year for audits and programs reviewed by the Inspector General of the State Department, USAID and other relevant agencies in addition.
The United States should make clear to the people of Pakistan that our interests are focused not on supporting a particular leader or party but on democracy, pluralism, stability, the fight against violence and extremism. These are values supported by a large majority of the Pakistani people. As I noted when we introduced the Kerry-Lugar Bill last week, any United States policy related to Pakistan will require the cooperation and active support of both the executive and legislative branches of our government. Senator Kerry and I are trying to play a constructive role in facilitating a consensus position between branches that will undergird a rational approach to the region with the best chances of success.
With this in mind, it's vital the administration's message on Pakistan be clear and consistent. The administration also must continue to actively consult with Congress on elements of strategy, not simply lobbyists for funds. The administration has conducted some bipartisan outreach on this topic already. I encourage the President to build on this so we have a truly bipartisan consensus as we grapple with respect to security challenges the region presents.
I look forward to working with President Obama's administration and congressional colleagues on a policy toward Pakistan that builds our relationship with that nation and protects vital U.S. interests.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. KERRY: Thank you very much, Senator Lugar. And thank you for your partnership in this effort to try to weave together a solid policy.
Ambassador Holbrooke, thank you very much for joining us today, and I think more particularly thank you for taking on this difficult task. It's complicated, and we're very appreciative that you're bringing your talents to bear here. If you could perhaps summarize testimony, and then we could maximize the amount of time senators will have to ask questions. And we'd appreciate it. Your full testimony will be placed in the record as if read in full.
Let me just mention just one thing to all my colleagues. On the issue that I know is of concern to everybody on nuclear weapons, that is the one topic we're going to have to take up in a classified session, so those questions if I could ask you to hold them, we will scheduled a classified session with appropriate folks in order to talk about that.
MR. HOLBROOKE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It is an enormous personal honor and privilege to testify before you for the first time as chairman of this committee. You are the seventh chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee I've had the privilege of testifying before since I was first confirmed in this very room by Senator John Sparkman in 1977. Your leadership and that of Senator Lugar is absolutely critical in the highly important issue we're here to discuss today.
I would like to submit my statement for the record and make a few brief comments, and I do want to start with the lunch you referred to at the beginning. I've been to a lot of lunches up here for foreign leaders over the last 30 years, but I've never seen one like that. That was really a lunch that moved policy. Neither man had ever done that before.
By pulling the two men together -- President Zardari and President Karzai -- in a serious forum in which they were required to answer tough, tough questions -- tougher in many ways than those asked at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue in the State Department -- you encouraged them in the very goal of the trilateral summit, which is to work with each other.
It is axiomatic that success in Afghanistan, however you define it, is not possible if Pakistan's western areas remain a sanctuary for rest, recuperation, recruitment and then attacking Afghanistan again. And cooperation between Islamabad and Kabul is notoriously bad -- that goes back into history. And it's an enormously complicated problem.
And by holding that lunch and simultaneously make them talk to each other in front of 27 senators and also to hear your views was, in my experience on the Hill, unprecedented and unique. And I thank you and Senator Lugar and your colleagues for it.
That lunch was the last event of a very effective week. And I want to give you a sense, beyond my written statement, of what we're trying to do and where we think we are.
This was not just a photo op. It was not just one meeting between two presidents. As you saw in the room, you had ministers in that room from both countries. Most notably, two or three of the matched pairs -- the ministers of agriculture, the ministers of interior and the ministers of finance -- had never met each other. So we were playing the kind of leadership role that I think is what the United States -- both branches -- should do.
As a result of those meetings, we've agreed to hold four sets of meetings like this a year. And this was the second, but the first at the chief-of-state level.
As a result of those meetings, we have set up working groups and task forces on a whole range of issues stretching from water resource management -- an issue of enormous political sensitivity, of course -- to negotiating the trade transit agreement between Afghanistan and Pakistan. A team of ours is on its way to Islamabad right now to push those negotiations.
Two, perhaps the most difficult of all issues, intelligence cooperation. You saw firsthand in the room when you called on General Pasha, the head of ISI, the immense complexity in that area.
So we think that his trilateral process will improve our chances of achieving our objectives. But I would not want to mislead you. What happens in Washington is only as good as its reactivation on the ground in the field. We can sit here and pledge and shake hands and sign agreements, but it only matters if it happens on the ground.
The situation in Pakistan is extremely difficult. And I was pleased to see, Mr. Chairman, that you began by saying -- and I quote your words, because I hope to use them repeatedly -- "We're not looking for perfection." You're not going to find any in our policies in this part of the world! This is one tough issue.
For those of us -- and I see at least two people on this podium who've served in another war in a distant land in another long ago -- this is as tough as anything I've ever seen before, anything I've every worked on.
We are in Afghanistan and Pakistan because of 9/11, because al Qaeda and its allies are camped out in western Pakistan and have pledged and promised and predicted and threatened to do it again to us and other countries. These are the men who killed Benazir, who did Mumbai, who attacked the cricket team in Lahore, who attacked the United States. They are -- the epicenter of this area is in western Pakistan.
If it were not for that fact, Mr. Chairman, we would not be sitting here today asking -- supporting your very visionary proposal to triple aid -- non-military aid -- and we would be not having this kind of colloquy. Pakistan would still be a huge issue for many other reasons, including the nuclear weapons. Pakistan would also be an immensely important country, because of its size and its role in the Muslim world, but the reason we consider one of -- if not the highest strategic priority of this administration, is because they directly threaten us.
People ask me if this is another Vietnam, and I would say quite frankly to you, that structurally there are many similarities -- including the sanctuaries, including the problems of governance, including problems of corruption, including problems of inefficiencies and inadequacies of strategy, including sometimes our own strategies. That's part of the job I was given by the president and secretary of State is to work on the civilian side of that problem.
But I want to underscore the core difference between Vietnam and Afghanistan-Pakistan and it is 9/11. There was no threat from the Vietcong and the North Vietnamese Army to the homeland of the United States. They had no interest, no intentions and no capabilities. Our enemies now include people that do. And that's why we're here today in this historically troubled area.
The bill you have presented corrects a longstanding imbalance in our economic assistance. It was too heavily weighted to the wrong issues, the wrong areas and too heavily military. But I know there are military components to this that you wish to discuss.
With that, Mr. Chairman, I will stop and be honored to respond to your questions. And say, once again, because there are more friends of mine this committee than any other in the Congress, how pleased I am to appear before you.
SEN. KERRY: Well, thank you very much, Ambassador Holbrooke.
Again, we're delighted to have you here and delighted you're tackling this -- complicated as it is. And I agree with you. It's tough.
Why don't we try to sort of establish a baseline here with respect to what we're dealing with. A lot of news stories lately have been implying Pakistan is on the brink of becoming a failed state. Or in some of the news reporting you get a sense there may be an imminent take over and so forth by the Taliban.
My personal view is that both of the judgments are overblown. That it is not about to be a failed state and they're not about to take over the whole country. Nevertheless, they have made very significant gains and if the situation remains the way it has been these last years, they will continue to.
That said, would you share with us your view about what are we looking at here in terms of the governance capacity within Pakistan and the state of the insurgency itself -- or insurgencies, because there are criminal efforts, there are various indigenous-focused insurgencies? And then, of course, Lashkar-e-Taiba, which took its effort to Mumbai. Perhaps you could sort of just lay the baseline for the committee if you would.
MR. HOLBROOKE: First of all, Mr. Chairman, I agree with you. Pakistan is not a failed state.
But from its birth, Pakistan has been under pressure from -- based on the ethnic diversity of its nation and because although everybody's not Muslim, they have very strong identities with their Pashtun, Punjabi, Sindh, and so on. And so I share your view.
Your question addresses the current situation on the ground politically. Is that what you would like me to address?
SEN. KERRY: Politically and the insurgency, militarily.
MR. HOLBROOKE: Okay. Politically, I think the facts are pretty well known. We have a democratically elected government after a decade of military rule, which was excessively supported, in my view, by the United States.
We need, in my view, to strengthen the democracy in Pakistan. That should be our core objective. Another military coup, another military takeover, another military intervention would be very much against the interests of the United States, and above all, the people of Pakistan. And every public opinion polls shows overwhelming desire for democracy to succeed.
But when you drill down to the next level, you come up with an anomaly, which is a sharp division between the two leading political forces -- the PPP of President Zardari, ruling party; and the party of Nawaz Sharif and his brother, the chief minister in the Punjab. They had formed a government together, as we all know, in the period that led to the removal of Musharraf, and then they split apart.
I am very pleased to bring to your attention, again, a fact which got relatively little attention in the United States until recently. And that was that last week -- week before last -- in the Punjab, the two parties formed a coalition government. The Punjab's 60 percent of the population. I think that's a big step forward towards the kind of national unity that's wanted.
I would also draw your attention to the extremely important statements of Prime Minister Gilani, who in the last few days made a major speech calling for an all-parties conference on national security and other leading political figures from other parties have also endorsed that.
So before we throw up our hands and assume that Pakistan is quote, "falling apart", unquote, let's recognize that with a lot of encouragement from their friends -- including this committee and other people who were at the lunch last week -- you can see the signs that Pakistan's political effort is knitting together somewhat, compared to where it was a few weeks ago.
On the insurgency issues, we all know that your characterization of the Swat is one that I also have made publicly. So I'm completely on the same wavelength as you. The Pakistani people supported that deal very strongly. Something like 74 percent of the population in a poll taken by the IRI -- the International Republican Institution -- and published this morning -- I don't have the exact figure, but I think that poll is well worth putting into your record. Something like 74 percent of the IRI respondents supported that poll when it was taken.
But the Taliban -- as you predicted; as many of your colleagues predicted; as we predicted -- the Taliban violated it, used it as an excuse to keep moving east. And that created a kind of a near panic among some people that led to the current -- led to the current attention. Of course, your bill -- and it should be noted -- long preceded that crisis and was not a result of it.
So the Pakistan army began their military operations just in the last few days.
The military operations, I'm not in a position this morning, Mr. Chairman, to report to you on how they're going because the only information I have is fragmentary. It's more journalist than intelligence. Frankly, I don't really trust what I hear from a situation like that until the dust of battle is settled.
But one thing is clear, 900,000 refugees have been registered with the U.N. in that area, and we have a major, major refugee crisis. The executive branch is meeting steadily on this. I think there's a meeting going on right now about this downtown. So far, the U.S. has provided over $57 million for this crisis from emergency funds. I would welcome any suggestions or advice you have on this because since our national security interests are so at stake and we look like we're heading for about 1 million to 1,300,000 refugees, we should not ignore that.
SEN. KERRY: Let me ask you, if I can, a last question. What makes you -- let me go back. When Pakistan was created, the Pakistanis themselves and the British agreed to create this area called the Federally Tribal Administered Areas (sic) and they did it in acknowledgment of the complications of the Pashtun and tribal presence there. (Lord Duran ?) drew a line right smack through the Pashtun, sort of dividing them, partly in Afghanistan, partly in Pakistan. And in effect, the Pakistanis acknowledged by omission and commission over the years, what they chose not to do, that they were sort of happy, to leave it be tribally administered and not essentially integrated into Pakistan.
I remember meeting with President Musharraf in Karachi a few years ago and pressing him on the issue of why they didn't go in and begin to deal with the extremism and, you know, the insurgencies then. And he talked about the complications and how difficult it was and so on and sort of underscored to me the reticence on behalf of some folks to deal with that. Obviously, Alexander the Great, the British and the Soviets all found enormous difficulty in trying to tame that part of the world.
Now we are sort of at this crucible, if you will, where we're trying to get them to do the very thing that they've never been willing to do and no one's been willing to do. Share with us your thoughts about that. What is needed to be achieved here in order to protect the United States and our interests. And how do we keep our interests from being extended beyond what they really are or what is achievable?
AMB. HOLBROOKE: You know, Mr. Chairman, when I ask people what books I should read about Pakistan, a lot of them suggested Rudyard Kipling's "Kim" which is set in what is now called the FATA. The British set this area up as their western buffer against the wilds of Afghanistan. Your historical description is exactly correct. We have as in so many other parts of the world -- think of Yugoslavia and Sudan -- we've inherited boundaries, the world has inherited boundaries which leave a perpetual dissatisfaction. The international boundary is disputed.
Many of us believe that one thing that should be done is to take the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and incorporate them into the full political life of Pakistan. President Zardari has said he'd like to do that. Nawaz Sharif says he would favor it. I would hope the Pakistani government would consider moving on this. It's been out there for many years.
This arrangement you described began under the British at the end of the 19th century. And while it's very romantic for readers of "Flash Man" novels, it's not a good way to run that area. But you see, until 9/11, the tribal system kind of ran itself. Then the United States drove the Taliban east. They nested in this area. The U.S. and the government of Islamabad ignored what was happening. And as they nested, they festered, and they realized not only did they have a nice sanctuary to counterattack Afghanistan, they had a nice place from which to recruit and focus on the east as well.
Your bill provides more funds in one bill than the United States has spent in that area since 9/11. That is one of the reasons we are so enthusiastic about it. It's long overdue. And I cannot offer you solutions today, Mr. Chairman, but I can offer you a significant redirection in American emphasis and focus.
SEN. KERRY: Senator Lugar.
SEN. LUGAR: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Ambassador Holbrooke, I want to discuss the legislation with you for a moment because it encompasses five years. Obviously, today we are talking about the crisis of today and the next few weeks. And five years seems like a long time away, through the entire administration, through several different elections of Congress. And this is why in the bill we've tried to set up, first of all, the thought that the administration should have a plan for the five years.
As the American people take a look at $7.5 billion over five years for Pakistan, and given the description we've already heard today of the military activity and the chaotic difficulties of refugees and so forth, there is not a very distinct image of what anyone does with the $1.5 billion in any particular year, quite apart from over five years. There's a thought that somehow, for the first time, schools and health and civil governments and reform of this sort might be our objective as opposed to an in-and-out business with the military. But that almost begs the question of, who sets up in the administration some parameters of how the money goes, and who administers it and how the interface occurs between our United States administrators and those in Pakistan that we hope will take hold of the administration and bring about Pakistani objectives.
And I just add a final thought to that question. We've asked for a six-month review or report each six months during this five years, that's 10 reports, going back to the original administration plan as to how effective were the expenditures in meeting what we thought were our goals. And that will require some doing likewise by various persons who will come along and who hopefully understand the whole (ethos ?). So first of all, describe the formation of the plan, how quickly that can occur given the time limits, as you pointed out, and the need, and then some description of what sort of personnel are available in a country as large as Pakistan to begin to implement the plan.
AMB. HOLBROOKE: Well, thank you, Senator Lugar. First of all, the money -- if you're asking exactly how the money will be allocated, I would like to submit in writing to you a more precise outline of how we would propose to allocate it. I think it's a very important question, and I don't want to do it off the top of my head.
SEN. LUGAR: And furthermore, there's flexibility given by the bill, depending upon on the -- (inaudible) -- of the time.
AMB. HOLBROOKE: But secondly, in regard to the tribal areas, the previous commitment from the executive branch was $750 million over five years. As a private citizen, I was briefed on this in Islamabad, and I quite honestly said and I wrote at the time in The Washington Post, that I thought it was a pathetic amount of money, given the importance of this area. That discussion took place about 14 months ago.
You are now offering us a very significant increase. According to the notes handed to me, in FY '08, there was $187 million provided to FATA. In '09, the number will increase to 600 million (dollars). Now, what are we going to do with it? You mentioned development. Roads are important. Microcredit -- I met yesterday with the people from FINCA, a wonderful NGO that specializes in microcredit and has a terrific program in Afghanistan. They have nothing in Pakistan. We're going to allocate some of the money, if you approve it, to FINCA but ask them to start working out of Peshawar because women's microcredit addresses so many needs at once -- health, education, livelihood, the agricultural program I mentioned earlier, law enforcement.
Quite honestly, although the money sounds like a lot, it isn't, in my view, as much as the problem needs. Some people worry about capacity, but the Pakistanis have a well-developed NGO system. They have a government out there. They need resources. The country is extremely poor. Over half the people live on less than $2 a day. And by the way, every time I go to Islamabad, people say to me, fine to give money to FATA, but that's only 4 (million) or 5 million people out of 175 million in the country. Eighteen million people in Karachi alone, the world's largest Muslim city. And they have four hours of electricity a day, which is one of the reasons the water resource management program and the program for the joint Afghanistan-Pakistan dam, which was just signed in front of Bob Zoellick last week during the summit, are so important.
The needs there are enormous. And the history of U.S. relations with Pakistan has emphasized the wrong kinds of assistance. So with your permission, I will submit a more precise answer.
SEN. LUGAR: That would be helpful. And likewise, some idea likewise of this plan the bill calls for. In other words, the answers you're going to give will be very helpful in terms of your on-the-spot view, but I think what we're going to be looking at is this plan because we're going to be coming back to it every six months for how much of it's being fulfilled.
MR. HOLBROOKE: We would welcome, Senator Lugar, a continual dialogue, not just every six months but whenever you want. I would be delighted to travel with you and any of your colleagues to the region so that we can start with an experiential base.
But let me make a point about the military side of things. It has been pointed out by a lot of observers that the army is overwhelmingly Punjabi and this is a Pashtun area. When Admiral Mullen and I met with people from the Waziristan area on our last trip to Pakistan -- and I wish to emphasize that those people met with us at the risk of their lives. It was really dangerous to come into Islamabad. When we met with them, they told us that Punjabi military coming into a Pashtun area are as alien as it would be if they were NATO troops. And we take that point.
So where do we come out on the security side? There is this ancient group called the Frontier Corps. Again, Kiplingesque, Kipling-era stuff, very colorful group. We believe that they can be strengthened into a serious counterinsurgency force.
Mr. Chairman, I'm just responding on a point I know is of particular interest to you, the upgrading of the Frontier Corps. A lot of the money we're asking you for is going to go to seriously upgrading their weaponry, maybe we think the time for (in field ?) rifles is over. They still use them. And by the way, they still work. We're going to try to give them better counterinsurgency training. And we think their size can be increased.
We have a very, very small American contingent out there doing advice only. And we want to give them some means.
One last point, Mr. Chairman, and this is the one I feel most strongly about. Concurrent with the insurgency is an information war. We are losing that war. The Taliban have unrestricted, unchallenged access to the radio which is the main means of communication in an area where literacy is around 10 percent for men and less than 5 percent for women. And radio is broadcast from the backs of pickup trucks and motorcycles. It's from mosques. It's low-wattage FM radio stations. They broadcast the names of people they're going to behead. It's just like Rwanda.
And for reasons that are hard to explain, we have no counterprogramming efforts that existed when we took office. We don't have jamming. We don't try to override. We don't do counterprogramming. Senator Kerry and I, in particular, talked about this. And I want to state in front of the full committee that Senator Kerry wrote into his bill a special section on this issue that's very helpful to us in our internal dialogue which is going on as we speak.
President Obama has personally expressed a desire to deal with this, and we shall do so.
And I want to bring to your attention that this particular issue -- we cannot win the war, however you define win, we can't succeed, however you define success, if we cede the airwaves to people who present themselves as false messengers of the prophet, which is what they do. And we need to combat it. And I thank you for highlighting that issue in the bill that you and the chairman have put forward.
SEN. LUGAR: Well, thank you. I appreciate, as always, your testimony. But, as I say, please get back to us with the plan, because that will be important not only for us, but likewise for our colleagues and for those in the public who are going to be following this for some time.
MR. HOLBROOKE: I will, Senator Lugar. And I certainly will be responsive, as I've tried to be to you ever since we first started working together in the 1970s. But I would like to underscore that we did a strategic review, but that was an overview. We are now drilling down to the deepest levels.
General Petraeus and I have now operationalized most of the Afghanistan part. He and I are now turning to Pakistan. As you know, there's been a very important command change in Afghanistan yesterday. That doesn't apply directly to Pakistan, but anything that happens in one country affects the other.
We are in the -- we have upgraded our embassy in Afghanistan enormously in the last few weeks, not only with Karl Eikenberry as our new ambassador, but with Ambassador Frank Riccioni (sp) as the deputy ambassador, Ambassador Tony Wayne from Argentina, former assistant secretary of State for economics, going to be the boss of the field operations. We now have to do the same thing in Islamabad. Ambassador Patterson and I have talked about it, and we welcome your support on that as well.
SEN. LUGAR: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. KERRY: Thank you, Senator Lugar.
Let me just say quickly, as I turn to Senator Feingold, that the Frontier Corps has been doing some interesting and surprisingly capable things, and I think there is promise there; and secondly, that small unit that you've talked about, there are just some exceptional people who have terrific sense of what reality is on the ground, and we need to listen to them closely as we go forward.
SEN. RUSS FEINGOLD (D-WI): I thank the chairman very much for holding this hearing.
Ambassador Holbrooke, thank you for coming before the committee. As you know, I was just delighted when the president and the secretary of State had the wisdom to select you to be the special envoy on this issue, and I give the chairman enormous credit for that lunch the other day. It was one of the most unique things in my mere 17 years that I've been watching these things, and I saw the fingerprints of Dick Holbrooke all over that very unique event that I thought was just excellent.
Now, it has been nearly eight years since al Qaeda attacked the United States. And while I'm very pleased that President Obama has unequivocally recognized the need to refocus the government's attention and resources on this threat, I do remain concerned that the plan for Afghanistan and Pakistan has the potential to escalate rather than diminish the threat.
Since 2001, as you pointed out, Pakistan has received billions of dollars from the United States in assistance packages and reimbursements for security-related counterterrorism initiatives, and yet al Qaeda has actually reconstituted itself along the border region, primarily because the last administration focused its attention on Iraq and relied on a partner in Pakistan who lacked popular support and whose commitment to fighting extremism was questionable.
Fortunately, President Obama wants to reverse the previous administration's failed policies. Good intentions are not enough, however. As the president and the secretary of State have made clear, security in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and even for us here at home, are inextricably linked.
Now, adding 21,000 new troops in Afghanistan, I fear, could further destabilize Pakistan without providing substantial lasting security improvements in Afghanistan. Your very words here this morning, Mr. Ambassador, were "We pushed them to the east." The question here is, are we going to continue to push more people to the east who may be more able to do us harm in Pakistan than they're able to do us harm in Afghanistan?
So, obviously, as you know better than anyone, to succeed, we must ensure that we have an equal partner in the Pakistani government. If we're serious about fighting al Qaeda and preventing another generation of bin Ladens from emerging, we must also ensure that any expanded support for development, rule of law, human rights and anti- corruption is met with equal dedication by the Pakistani government.
And along these lines, Mr. Ambassador, I'm interested to hear from you today about how we can help ensure a coordinated and effective response to the rising numbers of displaced people that have resulted from the recent military offensive in the western part of Pakistan, which, of course, we all know is not -- we're not talking here about the FATA. We're talking about Pakistan proper. We're talking about internally displaced people. And as you know from our previous conversations, less than a year ago I had the opportunity to see the good effects of American aid in both the North-West Frontier Province and in Pakistani Kashmir after the earthquake.
Now, we can't have a foreign policy based on waiting for natural disasters. However, when one does occur, we've seen, both in the tsunami incident in Indonesia, in that region, and also here in Pakistan, that that is something we can do, and do quickly, that can make a difference. So I urge you to consult with people in the administration to help make that happen.
I'm also pleased that Senator Kerry and Lugar have reintroduced and updated legislation to strengthen Pakistan's civilian government. That is overdue. And I'm also pleased to see that the legislation will require the secretary of State to be forthcoming on what progress is occurring as a part of our oversight. After all, this does obviously involve taxpayer dollars.
Now, back to the issue, Ambassador, of -- well, you just said that everything that happens in Afghanistan affects Pakistan. Well, that gets at the core of some of my concerns. Is the proposed policy sufficiently considering what I like to call the balloon effect of whatever happens in Afghanistan affects Pakistan or vice versa?
You've said that the impact of our troops in Afghanistan will mean the Taliban will, quote, "go east into Pakistan," towards the Baluchistan area, an issue that has to be addressed. So I'm curious about your reaction to -- do you believe that the Pakistani government is doing everything it can to capture Taliban leaders, particularly in Baluchistan?
And are we sure that when we put 21,000 more troops in Afghanistan and get up to a level of 70,000 troops, are we sure that that isn't making the situation in Pakistan potentially worse, or actually making it better? Is it possible that it's going to be having the kind of negative effect that you've actually alluded to in your remarks?
MR. HOLBROOKE: (Off mike.)
SEN. KERRY: Is your mike on?
MR. HOLBROOKE: Thank you, Senator Feingold.
On your first point, you are absolutely correct that an additional amount of American troops, and particularly if they're successful in Helmand and Kandahar, could end up creating a pressure in Pakistan which would add to the instability. I raised that issue as soon as the troop discussions began at the White House, and I was not alone in raising it.
The United States Military Command under General David Petraeus, who I think is a great American military leader, is well aware of it. They have been conducting, and are conducting as we speak, very intense discussions with the Pakistani army to work with them so that they will be prepared this time, as they were not prepared in 2002, for what happened.
On your key question, is Pakistan doing everything it can to capture Taliban leaders, al Qaeda and so on, you heard, as I did, General Pasha's reply in closed session to that question in the lunch we discussed earlier. I don't know the answer to that, because I don't know what it is they're not doing that they could be doing. They have captured and killed and eliminated over the years a good number of the leaders of the Taliban and al Qaeda. But others have been under less pressure.
There is a history here, which General Pasha spoke very frankly about at our lunch when he said quite bluntly to the senators assembled, and those of us who were privileged to be there, that we had to remember that this had originally been a joint Pakistani- American intelligence operation in the 1980s. And when the United States walked out on Afghanistan in 1989, which history will record as a very serious error, the Pakistanis were left with a situation which required them, from their own point of view, to continue some of these relationships.
It made sense in 1989. It made no sense after 9/11, from our point of view. But many people think the Pakistanis are still ambivalent about it. And many people in the region -- indeed, the bulk of the people in the region, as all of you know -- believe the United States will abandon them again because of the history.
One of the things that this administration has tried to do is say we're not going to walk out this time. But words have to be measured against history, and the history has left them skeptical. And we need to show the region, which is again why this legislation has become so important -- I mean, I want to be very frank with you. The phrase "Kerry-Lugar" has a talismanic quality in the Pakistani press now. It's not just the amount of money; it's the fact that it is now read as a symbol of our intentions to stick around and be serious about it. And, of course, the troop commitment in Afghanistan speaks for itself.
SEN. FEINGOLD: Mr. Ambassador, my time is out. I just want to make sure I get an answer to the larger question. Are you sure that the troop buildup in Afghanistan will not be counterproductive vis-a- vis Pakistan?
MR. HOLBROOKE: No. I'm only sure that we are aware of the problem, that we are working intensely with the Pakistani army, that they are aware of it, that the lesson of 2001-2002 has been absorbed. But everyone who's observed the situation from the outside has come to the same conclusion, Senator Feingold, and that is that there are not enough forces in the West.
And this offensive will drive pressure into Baluchistan, where the fighting now is to the north in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. We hope that the Pakistanis will move more troops into the West, improve the training of the Frontier Corps. We're ready to assist with all of this. It is imperative that it be done. It is an extraordinarily complicated equation.
Why, then, would I still support the troop buildup in Afghanistan, which I strongly support for the simplest of reasons? It is -- you could not leave the American, the NATO and the ISAF forces in the deployment structure which was inherited on January 20th. We did not have enough forces ourselves to do our own job.
So the recommendation of General Petraeus and General McKiernan for an additional 17,000 troops and 4,000 trainers was, in my view, absolutely critical. But, yes, we're aware of the consequence. And I would say, quite candidly, that wasn't true seven years ago.
SEN. KERRY: An honest answer. Thank you.
SEN. : Mr. Chairman, thank you.
And Ambassador, thank you for your testimony. And I, too, want to thank you for the lunch meeting that took place last week.
I will tell you that what struck me about it was it was the last event with the two leaders that were here, and I think it's very intelligent that you all are having these trilateral meetings. I thank you for that.
What struck me, though, was after having these ministerial breakouts and having days of meetings -- and I'm going to ask some questions about Afghanistan, since your term, AFPAK, is one that's been part of the vernacular here in Washington now.
I was struck by the fact that the president of Afghanistan could not in a coherent way relay what our mission in Afghanistan ought to be.
MR. HOLBROOKE: And may I -- may I just say it was -- it was --
SEN. CORKER: And -- well, now -- well, let me finish. Let me finish.
MR. HOLBROOKE: The president was struck by your response. (Laughs.) He was very --
SEN. CORKER: Well, his nonresponse -- his nonresponse was pretty stunning to, I think, most people in the meeting. And when I pushed back and -- at his eloquent, long-winded nonresponse, he then said, "This is your mission." Okay?
And I was also struck -- I was glad to see the good relations between he and President Zardari. That was good to see. But I guess what I'd like to ask you one more time, because I've said before, your explanation of our mission there has sort of rung hollow. And you're a very knowledgeable person. You're our person as it relates to foreign relations there. What is our mission in Afghanistan, in your words?
MR. HOLBROOKE: Well, first let me just clarify my introduction. You made a big impact on President Zardari. I don't dispute your characterization of the exchange, but it was a very -- one the most memorable moments of last week. And he got your message, which was that you, as a senior member of this committee, were not satisfied with his answer. And I think it had exactly the desired effect. Will it produce the desired outcome? That's another issue. This is a -- this is a -- dealing with the Pakistani government, with its complexities -- after all, the prime minister has a lot of power, too -- is difficult.
Now, on the question of our mission, our mission was clearly stated by the president in his speech at the end of March. It is to defeat, dismantle and disable al Qaeda and the enemies of the United States who directly threaten us.
Now, since those -- since al Qaeda is overwhelmingly in Pakistan, not Afghanistan, the question legitimately arises, well, why are we fighting in Afghanistan when the enemy is in Pakistan? And we spent a lot of time discussing this. And the answer is that Taliban and al Qaeda are so interrelated that Taliban -- you might envisage it as the cordon which surrounds the hard core. Taliban does the local jihad; al Qaeda does the global jihad. And they interact. And we believe strongly -- I believe all observers would agree -- that the enemies of the United States -- Taliban, al Qaeda, Baitullah Mehsud and others -- are -- who also are enemies of the Pakistani democracy, are people we must deal with.
I stress again, Senator, the enemies of Pakistan are the same as the enemies of the United States. Some of them are in Afghanistan. Some of them are in Pakistan. We must help them win, and by win I mean stabilize the government in Pakistan and give the Afghans the capacity to defend themselves.
SEN. CORKER: So I have shown support for our efforts in Afghanistan and our efforts, certainly, in Iraq. You all have just gone through a strategic review. We are asked to vote on a supplemental next week. I have to tell you that there's a lot of moving parts, from my perspective. And I do not think that we have coherently laid out to this body what our strategy is overall. I mean, Senator Feingold had some questions. There are -- there are issues that -- I think that need to be discussed.
And before I move on to this bill, I would just say that I really think that it's a mistake to bring the supplemental up next week. We've talked to the Army. They're not going to be out of funds until July the 1st. We just talked with them within the last hour. And I think for members of this body on both sides of the aisle to have the questions that we all have, especially after meeting with the leaders of these two countries last week, I think it is a mistake. And I think we are potentially embarking on a monumental mistake, whether we end up doing the right things or not, by this body not discussing this in the way that it should and being fully bought into something that I think is going to be a part of our country's efforts for years to come, especially since we are, in fact, doubling down, if you will, in Afghanistan. And so to me, this is something that we should discuss much more fully, should not rush out a supplemental today.
So let me just -- and especially, I'd love to talk about just little things like corruption. I mean, your administration has alluded to the fact that in the poppy crop area that you feel the government is actually taking more of the illegal monies than the Taliban is, that we're supporting an illegal government action there, that that is of greater concern than the poppy crop actually going to the Taliban, okay. And Pakistan, you know, I hate to be pejorative here, but, I mean, the leader is -- was formerly called "Mr. 10 Percent." I know that that may be unfair. But I do think we need to understand how these moneys are going to be circulated through these countries in such a way that they don't end up in a bank account in Switzerland. I think those are important things to talk about.
But let me just say this bill coming out of the -- to this piece of legislation, since I have 29 seconds left --
SEN. KERRY: It's all right. This is important enough. Happy to give you a little extra time, if colleagues -- you know, this is an important discussion. We're here to have the discussion. So now's the time to get at it.
SEN. CORKER: Well, it -- I appreciate the phone call that we had yesterday. But I really believe that this administration is making a large mistake, asking for this supplemental today, when our engagement there is going to be multi-yeared. Y'all have just come in. I'm not criticizing you. You're a man of extreme knowledge. But we have not hashed out what's happening, and we are going to be engaged there for many, many, many years. Many men and women will lose their lives. We're doubling down, and we haven't debated this yet, okay?
So I'm going to stop there, but on this legislation, just to get to the menial issues of the day, I appreciate the leadership of our two senators in offering this. I do find it similar to what I'm saying about the supplemental. We are asking you to tell us what you're going to do with this money after we pass the bill. I just find that to be really odd. It seems to me that the administration would come tell us what it is they want to achieve in Pakistan and tell us what the benchmarks are; we would look at the international community's efforts, which I know that is occurring; and we would look at what we ought to be doing in regard to that, after you have laid out to us what those benchmarks are. For us to pass a large amount of funding and yet then ask later for you to tell us what you're going to do with it to me seems backwards. And would love a response to that.
MR. HOLBROOKE: Senator, I agree it's complicated and I agree it's tough and I think every senator on all sides of this issue has made that point, no more eloquently than your -- than our chairman here and Senator Lugar. But I do not feel that it's quite fair to say that we haven't outlined what we'd do with it. I responded to Senator Lugar's question by listing health, education, livelihoods, women's microcredit, capacity building, the Frontier Corps. We have changed the focus. None of this happened in the past. And on your points about corruption and counternarcotics, I'm on the record as agreeing fully with what you just said.
So why, then, do I respectfully -- and I mean the respectfully sincerely -- why then do I disagree with you on the issue of delaying? First of all, we're not asking for money and then we'll decide how to spend it. We're asking for emergency money at this moment. But I need to underscore the following point, particularly given the very high visibility of this bill in Pakistan.
SEN. CORKER: Well, we're mixing messages. The supplemental and this bill are two separate issues, right? You're --
MR. HOLBROOKE: I understand the difference. I understand the -- I've testified before the supplemental people, too. But the -- and this is an anomaly of the way the press covers it, but the words Kerry-Lugar have become a symbol of American support for Pakistan in the emergency, not something called the supplemental, which contains a lot of other things. I understand that the supplemental is necessary for the money. I'm just telling you facts on the ground.
But the point I want to underscore, Senator, with great respect, is simple: The only beneficiary of a delay in this bill is the enemies of our nation, the people who are trying to have the next 9/11, because they will use it on that radio that I was talking about earlier to mislead people as to our true commitments in the area. So while I agree with you about the supplemental --
SEN. CORKER: Maybe we should put it off.
MR. HOLBROOKE: Sir?
SEN. CORKER: Maybe we should put the supplemental off and at least --
MR. HOLBROOKE: No, sir. No, sir. I'm in favor -- I supported the supplemental as well. But that -- but we're here to testify on behalf of your -- of your bill, as I -- that's why I'm here. And I'm --
SEN. CORKER: Well, the supplemental's coming up next week. I know my time is up.
MR. HOLBROOKE: But you're talking -- are you asking --
SEN. CORKER: But the supplemental is what needs --
MR. HOLBROOKE: -- about delaying the supplemental?
SEN. CORKER: Yes. I mean, this bill is --
MR. HOLBROOKE: Oh.
SEN. CORKER: -- the army does not need those funds until July 1st. And we have not in any -- you've had a strategic review. We had two leaders come up here that had no earthly idea what our mission is in their countries, okay, and the fact is that I don't think we, as a body, have talked about Afghanistan in the proper way yet. So --
SEN. KERRY: Let me -- can I intervene here, just if I can, because I want to -- I want to give you some leeway, but also we have colleagues who are waiting. But I want to try to -- let me cover a couple things quickly.
First of all, Senator, I think it is entirely appropriate -- particularly given the change of command that has just taken place and our secretary of Defense's own judgment that there needs to be a transition, it's very appropriate to be asking some questions about Afghanistan and the supplemental. I think a lot of us have some questions. But let's separate that out for a moment from this and also separate out the -- I want to speak to this question of the two presidents' definitions.
You and I heard that answer differently. I heard President Karzai very clearly say that if your definition of the mission was what the prior administration said it was -- i.e., the building of the government, democracy, you know, putting in place x, y, z, schools, et cetera -- he tipped his hat to that administration and basically absolved us of that responsibility to that, saying, "You've accomplished it. You gave us a national government. You gave us a process. We have an election coming up. We've built x number of schools. We have x number of women going to school," as he described it. I forget the percentage. He was very clear about that part of it.
But he said, what is unfinished -- he was very clear: Your mission is to fight al Qaeda and to prevent them from re-taking over the -- you know, the areas of Afghanistan where they can then launch strikes against the rest of the world. That's what he said. Now, that is, you know, basically what President Obama and others have defined it.
Now, I still think we need to flesh out the how of some of that, personally, and we're doing that here. I mean, the fact is that when I was in Peshawar just a few weeks ago and the Frontier Corps was telling me how they went into Bajaur, cleared it out, but it had been seven weeks and nothing, absolutely nothing had come in underneath it. That's the purpose of this bill. I mean, the whole purpose of this is to empower the civic follow-through that provides an alternative to what the Taliban are offering.
What's interesting is the Taliban, unlike Hezbollah or Hamas, who have mastered providing services and directly engaging in the sort of day-to-day life of citizens, Taliban don't do anything except scare people and kill people and intimidate them. And so they've actually left open an enormous opportunity, which is what the urgency of this bill is, is to be able to come in and then power some governance that actually makes a difference in the lives of people. That's the only way that we have a prayer here -- we, they, whoever -- however you link it.
And so I'd say to the senator, we're happy to spend a lot of time on this. And we're going to spend some time on Afghanistan, because it's a tricky, long-term deal and we need to do that. But I do not think it's fair to say that President Karzai didn't define the mission, as he sees it, in Afghanistan. And I said afterwards that he, in effect, has given us a very much more limited, narrower mission than we've had for the previous seven years.
SEN. ROBERT MENENDEZ (D-NJ): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Ambassador, thank you for your long-term service to our country and this present assignment as well.
You know, I have supported both in the House and the Senate these efforts with Pakistan, but I have real concerns, to be honest with you. It's those concerns that led Senator Harkin and myself to ask for a government accountability report that came out that's called "Securing, Stabilizing and Developing Pakistan's Border Area with Afghanistan."
And basically that report said that after six years of efforts by the United States and Pakistani governments and over $12 billion in military and development assistance al Qaeda had, quote, "regenerated its ability to attack the United States, continues to maintain a safe haven in the Fatah region." It noted that an integrated, comprehensive plan including all elements of national power, diplomatic, military, intelligence, development, economic, and law enforcement, had not yet been developed for the Fatah, despite that that was called for in a 2003 national strategy for combating terrorism, the 9/11 Commission report, and the implementing legislation of the 9/11 Commission.
So, you know, the question is one, do we not need a comprehensive strategy, as the government accountability office called for? And secondly, what is it? And thirdly, do we not after --- you know, the Pakistani's have, in my mind, a series of one step forward two steps backwards. You know, they rush their troops to the Indian border when their own sovereignty is being besieged by the elements within their country.
They make a deal to, you know, in the ---(inaudible)- region and then, you know, which was not in, I believe, in their interest nor in ours.
You have our director of CIA going in what was supposed to be a private, secret meeting having a video tape released of him. You wonder whether the Pakistani's are on the same page as us. Or they're only there when, in fact, pressure is exerted, in their own national interest as well as ours.
So do we need a comprehensive plan? What is it? What is our strategy, our comprehensive strategy? And should we not have benchmarks here to make sure we don't continue in the one step forward two steps back?
MR. HOLBROOKE: Thank you, Senator. I believe we do have a comprehensive strategy.
SEN. MENENDEZ: What is it?
MR. HOLBROOKE: And we have --- the president laid it out in his speech in the end of March. We laid it out to our allies. We brief the Hill repeatedly and in detail.
SEN. MENENDEZ: What is it? Give me the elements of it.
MR. HOLBROOKE: The key elements of it are, number one, to defeat the people who pose a direct threat to our homeland, al Qaeda and its supporters. To stabilize the government of Afghanistan and give it the ability to be self-sufficient in defense of it --- in its own security so that eventually the American combat troops and the NATO combat troops can leave.
SEN. MENENDEZ: I'm talking about Pakistan though for the moment.
MR. HOLBROOKE: Well these two are completely related, Senator.
SEN. MENENDEZ: But when you're asking money for Pakistan specific, I'd like to understand what our strategy is in the context of Pakistan.
MR. HOLBROOKE: I need to stress, again, as I have for years as a private citizen and in the government, that the ignoring of Pakistan, complete ignoring of Pakistan in terms of these issues over the last few years significantly contributed to the current crisis in Afghanistan as well as Pakistan.
As for Pakistan itself, how can we ignore that area of Western Pakistan which contains the people sworn to destroy America? So we need to strengthen and help stabilize this government. It begins with strengthening democracy. After a ten year military rule, which was very bad for our strategic interests and I believe for the Pakistani people, particularly the latter part of it.
There are many parts --- a previous senator spoke about the many moving parts here. There are many moving parts and I'd be happy to go back over them again at any time you wish. But I want to underscore that to strengthen Pakistani democracy will take resources, which is why we strongly support this bill.
We need to --- before you came in we had a extended colloquy on the frontier corps. Well, the frontier corps are from the local areas of the west as the regular army are mostly Punjabi's. It's been pointed out repeatedly that Punjabi's are regarded as an alien force in the western areas. So we want to strengthen the frontier corps.
We want to build roads, help them build roads, clinics, education, jobs. There's another bill in the Congress on the opportunity zones, sponsored by Senator Cantwell, which is a very important job creation bill, which I hope will also get passed.
Our role here --- we can't run Pakistan. It's the second largest Muslim country in the world. It's a vast and complicated country. But we can do more to help the civilian development and economic issues and help them strengthen democracy.
SEN. MENENDEZ: Let me say that I don't believe that $12 billion later that we are --- we have been ignoring Pakistan. If $12 billion later you would tell any U.S. taxpayer that we had been ignoring Pakistan they would probably bristle at the idea.
The reality is is that when I talk about strategy --- and I appreciate the development efforts that you just talked about, I support those. But I'm talking about a strategy that brings in the military element, that brings in the diplomatic element, that brings in the economic element, that brings in the intelligence element, that brings in the law enforcement element, that brings in the rule of law element. And I don't get the sense that we have that.
Now as someone who has continuously voted for this, I'm reticent to continuously vote without knowing that there is a strategic plan. I don't have the sense of that. And so I'd like --- you know, I look at what the GAO report said about our ability to validate funds that have gone there in the past. I don't know that we have a better structure today to validate the funds. We don't even know where significant parts of this money went to. That's $12 billion later.
You're asking us to vote for a whole new set of money without knowing whether there are going to be benchmarks, without knowing whether we have a better system of accountability. I personally can't continue down that road, as much as I think this is critical.
So there's going to have to be some give and take here if you want the support of some of us who have been supportive along the way but are just not here for a blank check. I said that in the previous administration and as much as I respect this one I believe the same standards have to be applied.
MR. HOLBROOKE: Senator, I am deeply troubled by what you've said because ---
SEN. MENENDEZ: I'm deeply troubled by where we're at. I'm deeply troubled by where we're at and I get no sense of reassurance from what I hear so far.
MR. HOLBROOKE: Well, I'm sorry you don't get a sense of reassurance but let me say that that GAO report arrived on my desk as I arrived at my job. And let me share with you a fact, the people who were in the department wanted to write a point by point rebuttal to it. And I put a complete hold on that and said on the contrary, that's going to be one of our guides for our policy. And if you feel that you should penalize this administration for the mismanagement that you've described accurately in the GAO report I can't do anything about it.
SEN. MENENBEZ: No, I don't want to penalize, Mr. Ambassador, I don't want to penalize this administration for anything that the past happened. But I do believe that the past is prologue unless we change it. And so what I'm looking for is a sense, a certainty of a strategy that will take this money and put it to good use between both the Kerry-Lugar Bill and the supplemental and future monies, as well as, as well as, a sense of accountability and benchmarks so that we don't continue the history that we've seen here.
So, I don't want to belabor the point. I'd be happy to talk to you at length, you know, at my office at some point if you want my support because right now it is not there based upon what I have seen so far.
MR. HOLBROOKE: I would be honored to come to your office and talk to you about it.
We do have benchmarks. The Congress has asked for them. They're being worked out in detail now in conjunction with the staffs in both houses under the direction of Admiral Blair, the director of National Intelligence. We are going to respond to any requests you have for benchmarks or metrics. We agree with everything you just said.
Having said that, I believe very strongly that the Pakistani people and their new democratic government deserve to have our support. If --- you talked about the waste of the $12 billion, I wrote about that as a private citizen. I thought it was a waste, a lot of it, because it went to conventional military support. And I'm not going to retract what I said as a private citizen but I'm here today, Senator, to underscore to you that we have a different strategy. We've laid it out in public. We've laid it out in private.
I'd be happy to come up to the Hill with General Petraeus if you wish and we'll -- we'll come up and have more private meetings. I've met with -- I would say I've met with half the senators in this body personally since I started this job in only three months and probably more than anyone else except Secretary Clinton, and I am committed to working with you.
But we do have a strategy and it is still being refined at the tactical and operational level. We discussed a lot of this earlier this morning here. And if there's any specific issue you want to cover I'd be delighted to do so. But we cannot walk away from Pakistan now without damaging our own most vital national security interests.
SEN. KERRY: Senator Menendez, if I can just -- first of all, your questions are very well put and important, and we have a record here of not having had that accountability and -- and again, we're not trying to go backwards, but we did find out where the money went in the last years because we thought it was going in one place and in fact, regrettably, it went to the general treasury of Pakistan. That's where it was spent.
So we gave significant billions of dollars to Pakistan for one purpose and it was spent for another. Now, with that knowledge, we drafted this legislation, and this legislation is very specific in saying that the president has to submit to us as well as to the Appropriations Committee the amounts of funds that are going specific projects -- projects and programs, a description of the specific projects for which the money is going to go, a list of the criteria used to measure the effectiveness of those projects, systemic qualitative basis for assessing whether the outcomes are achieved, a timeline for each project and program, a description of the role played by the Pakistani national, regional, local officials in identifying and implementing each of those programs, and all of the amounts of money that are going through it.
So those are some of the benchmarks and requirements that we've set out here specifically in response to what's promoting your concerns, and the administration has worked with us very closely in laying those out. So we, I think, are going to have a direct track on each and every dollar here, which is the intent and purpose of this.
SEN. MENENDEZ: Mr. Chair, if I may very briefly -- (inaudible). I just -- I appreciate what you're trying to do in the bill and what I want to see is even giving those metrics, which I applaud, how does that fit in to the strategy which I'm still not quite sure is -- is --
SEN. KERRY: That's fair, and I think Ambassador Holbrooke has said (he's spent time ?) and we'll have another hearing if we need to in the next days in order to make sure that we thoroughly answer all these things. Ambassador Holbrooke?
MR. HOLBROOKE: May I add one more point before the senator leaves, and that is that the Congress created I think a year or two ago the Special Inspector General for Afghan (sic) Reconstruction, SIGAR, which is now headed by a retired major general named General Fields -- Arnold Fields. We have been working very closely with them. Their -- their responsibility, of course, is solely to the Congress and we understand that and respect it.
But I want to say that I believe they have tremendous potential, Mr. Chairman, to help in the fight against corruption if you would consider -- and I'm speaking way out of previously thought-through guidelines here but I wanted to bring it to your attention. The Afghan government and the -- has specifically asked SIGAR to help it in the anti-corruption -- anti-corruption efforts, and I think this would be very valuable. It may require some consultations or legislative adjustment, and I -- and I also think that as we expand our efforts in Pakistan you may wish to consider whether they have an oversight role.
There is something like six different inspectors general and oversight committees in the executive branch in reporting to the Hill. You mentioned one of the most important, GAO, but there are also the SIGAR group, there's the inspector general of the State Department, there's the inspector general of the -- of AID, and there's several other oversight committees. SIGAR is the one that seems to be most actively on the ground because of the authority you gave them, and I wanted that -- I wanted you to reflect in the record how much we value them while respecting their independence, and to the extent you wish to expand their mandate or expand their resources we would strongly support that.
SEN. KERRY: Well, that's something we should talk about in the next days, and Senator Menendez, we might add there's a -- there's a GAO report required here within one year of the strategy report being submitted to us. So within one year of that we have an independent assessment of everything that the strategy report laid out. So we're working at it and we'll work closely with everybody here to do it. Senator Risch?
SEN. JAMES E. RISCH (R-ID): (Off mike.) Ambassador Holbrooke, thank you for coming today and let me -- let me say you can put me in the same column as Senator Corker and Senator Mendez -- Menendez as being less than enthusiastic at this point. I -- I'm really concerned about Afghanistan. It seems to me in Iraq we're winding down. There's going to be problems there as we --as we leave. We're going to have to deal with those as we leave.
Pakistan -- you know, you got the government -- the people themselves -- fighting for control of their government -- that we've chosen sides. I think it's going to be somewhat easier to make decisions there as to how we support the side that we've chosen. The Afghanistan problem -- I was there last month. I -- I've met with the president. I was at the same lunch and -- and, Mr. Chairman, I can tell you I think you were a lot more articulate than the president was about -- about describing the -- the progress there.
I can tell you, I was -- I have been stunned by the lack of progress in Afghanistan. The -- when you go there and you look at what's happening and you look at what has happened, it is just breathtaking the amount of money, the American lives we've spent there, and you have a government that has control maybe to the outskirts of the capital. You've got a -- a population that has really no sense of nationalism.
You've got an economy that's based on the -- a product that is illegal in virtually every -- every country in the world, and the corruption -- everybody admits that nothing happens without bribery and corruption there. It is -- it is terribly depressing and this -- to me, until somebody gets a handle on stopping the poppy production all of this stuff is -- is -- goes by the by. To me, trying to say, well, we don't want any corruption in the country is kind of like telling the Mafia, well, okay, you're in charge of prostitution, gambling, and drugs, but we don't want any corruption with you.
You stand on the abyss and look into that black hole and that's about all you see is a black hole. You just don't see a bottom. Now, I -- I just heard you articulate what our -- what our objectives are there, and that is to decimate the bad guys. You -- you just don't have the country itself having the willpower -- the political willpower -- to join us in that. In fact, I heard the president say -- and he didn't say it directly but if you read between the lines that yes, we stood up their government, yes, we've stood up their military, yes, we've stood up their police, but you guys, America, need to continue this fight with the -- with the -- with the Taliban and al Qaeda.
You know, I wanted to jump up at that point and say, well, what are you going to do about this, because that -- that enthusiasm I just don't see. And I got to tell you, the Afghanistan thing is very, very depressing and I'd like to -- with the money we're putting in there we need to have -- we need to have something much, much more concrete than what we have. I'd love to see an end game but I don't know who's smart enough to -- to develop an end game for us in that country. It's very depressing. Thank you, Mr. Ambassador. Thank you, Mr. Chair.
SEN. KERRY: Thank you, Senator.
MR. HOLBROOKE: That's -- that's pretty close to the view I had when we entered the government. I don't mean to be facetious about it but your description, I would quibble with some of the details. There are areas of progress -- real areas of progress. But the overall situation has deteriorated since 2004. There's no question about it, in Afghanistan, and that in turn has increased the pressure in Pakistan and vice versa.
We all understand that, Senator. That's why we're here. We're trying to turn around the situation which was clearly in decline when the administrations changed, and I'm very grateful to the support -- for the support and advice of this committee and of the Senate in general because we have a common enemy and a common threat and a common mission here. And I really don't agree with the previous senator that we don't have a strategy, but I do agree with you that the situation is extraordinarily serious and that's why we sent additional troops.
That's why we're asking for additional funds and that's why we want to work with you to fashion a bipartisan policy that can be sustained in our national security interests. And I welcome comments like yours although I think we could quibble on some of the details of what you said.
SEN. RISCH: Well, Ambassador, I -- I -- one of the difficulties I have is you like to see a political will amongst the people or a -- some willpower, some we can get this done, and the difficulty I'm having is I'm just wondering whether we have enough troops and whether we have enough money to convince the general populace in that country that they need to change the way they've been living for centuries and that -- you just don't hear it.
MR. HOLBROOKE: Here's an interesting statistic from this morning's International Republican Institute, IRI, poll. In June of 2008, 9 percent of the Pakistani people wanted to cooperate with the United States against terrorism. In March, the number had gone up to 37 percent. I would wager a great deal that today that number is even higher because there's a huge backlash going on against the Taliban similarly on the question of democracy in today's IRI poll. Seventy- seven percent of the Pakistani people are pro-democracy but 81 percent think the country is headed in the wrong direction.
So there's a clear indicator what has to be done. Seventy-four percent think religious extremism is a very serious problem for Pakistan but the government is not very popular. So I think the ingredients of a strategy are there but the military -- the Pakistani military -- has to take back the west and that's where we are today as we hold this important hearing.
SEN. KERRY: Let me -- I'm sorry, go ahead, Senator.
SEN. JAMES RISCH (R-ID): No. Thank you, Mr. Ambassador. Thank you, Mr. Chair.
SEN. KERRY: I was just going to suggest that, Ambassador Holbrooke, I think the administration has a tremendous opportunity staring it in the face with these tens of thousands of people being displaced as a consequence of Taliban excess. There is an opportunity actually to provide services much as we did with the earthquake relief, which had a profound impact on the perception of America, and I would urge us to take advantage of that in the next days because that can help to rapidly change opinion and, in fact, provide you with an opportunity we haven't had in Swat, Northwest Province, et cetera. If we did that and did it well it could change the game for the government too, I think. So I would urge that.
MR. HOLBROOKE: I -- I am -- I could not agree more. I'm glad you said it in public. Many of us have been saying it for the last few days in private. We are looking for how to -- how to act on that and we will -- (inaudible).
SEN. KERRY: Well, I'd lump it into part of the supplemental or do something but I think the administration has got to come up here and seize this opportunity on a strategy that's (been written for ?).
MR. HOLBROOKE: I share your view and I will relay your views immediately to the executive, my colleagues.
SEN. KERRY: Thank you. Senator Casey?
SEN. ROBERT P. CASEY (D-PA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Ambassador, thank you for appearing today.
SEN. KERRY: Can I just interrupt you for one second? I -- I have President Carter coming in because he's coming to testify to us this afternoon. I need to go to -- to meet with him. But if -- if, Senator Kaufman, you could close out again. You're getting good at that.
SEN. EDWARD E. KAUFMAN (D-DE): I appreciate it -- (inaudible).
SEN. KERRY: Thank you very much and I appreciate it. And Ambassador, if -- if we could follow up perhaps afterwards we can detail how we approach some of the issues that have been raised here today.
MR. HOLBROOKE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for --
SEN. KERRY: Thanks so much for coming today.
MR. HOLBROOKE: -- giving us this opportunity to lay out our strategy.
SEN. KERRY: Very important. Appreciate it. Senator Casey?
SEN. CASEY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Ambassador, we're honored by your presence here, and I didn't realize the first time that you appeared here was 1977. But for the work you did in the 70s and the 80s and the Dayton Accords and so many other good works you've done to the most recent, what I would describe -- and I think in your conversations with me you have a great sense of the gravity of the challenge -- the gravity in terms of our national security.
So these are difficult issues but I was -- I was struck by a line from your testimony -- your written testimony -- when discussing the -- the overarching priorities of the Kerry-Lugar bill and I think this one sentence sums up why not only it's a good piece of legislation that I and others have co-sponsored but that we need to move quickly to get it passed. And I'm quoting from the bottom of Page 3: "By increasing economic and educational opportunities, expanding the reach of quality healthcare, reinforcing human rights -- particularly women's rights -- and empowering civil society, life for millions of average Pakistanis will improve," unquote.
Just by way of a statement a good summation of why we need to pass the -- the legislation. And then finally, one other statement. Then I want to get to at least one major question. I was struck by yesterday's -- a statement in yesterday's New York Times' story about al Qaeda and the threat posed in Pakistan by Bruce Riedel who led the, as you worked so closely with him, leading the administration -- (inaudible) -- review of the policy -- was struck by the -- by the -- the intensity or the -- the gravity of this statement: Bruce Riedel said, quote, "They," meaning -- meaning al Qaeda, "they smell blood and they are intoxicated by the idea of a jihadist takeover in Pakistan."
When I look at that statement by Bruce Riedel and the threat posed in Pakistan by al Qaeda, and when I juxtapose that with the request for in the supplemental not only the 497 (million dollars) in emergency funds the Department of State has asked for but the 400 million (dollars) requested for the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capabilities (sic) Fund asked for by Secretary Gates and General Petraeus, Secretary Gates noting that these funds are needed to be in place by Memorial Day to ensure that we don't run out of funding for counterinsurgency prior to September 30th, I juxtapose those two and I have to say we need to not only pass the supplemental but act with a sense of urgency and dispatch. This is needed right now. I also believe we should attach the same sense of urgency to -- to Kerry- Lugar. I say that by way of -- just by way of statement but I don't know if you want to add to that, and I want to get to a -- a fundamental question.
MR. HOLBROOKE: Hard to add to that. I agree with it completely. Thank you for that statement.
SEN. CASEY: With regard to the -- what a lot of us know and it's not written about as much but it's -- it underlies all these discussions when we talk about just Pakistan for a moment but obviously affects the -- the -- the strategy in both countries, and that is India. We know that there is a -- an obsession there with regard to the Pakistani military. I think most Americans can -- can understand or appreciate some of that obsession. We -- every country has its -- has its focus. We had a threat over many generations posed by the Soviet Union. We understand that.
But, it's becoming an increasingly difficult problem to solve, because if the Pakistani government and their military forces are focused only, or largely, on India, it's going to be very difficult to make it work militarily.
I ask you this -- and I say this as someone who, last May, about a year ago I was in all three countries. And at one point, sitting with the national security adviser in India, in the context of Iran, I said, look, I know that you have a lot of ties to Iran -- India does; and I know that you have some, you have strong relationships, but you've got to help us with this nuclear threat posed by Iran.
We've asked a lot of countries, and countries have asked us, to set aside or to move to one side temporarily, a rivalry or a concern. I ask you this -- and I know it's a long lead-up, I ask you this with regard to India: Are there steps that India can take, in the context of this whole discussion, to help lower to temperature or create an environment where Pakistan can ease up a little bit -- as they have already, I know, they've moved some of their military forces from the border? But, are there efforts that India can undertake -- not just on its own, but by our urging, that would help here?
MR. HOLBROOKE: Senator, I appreciate the question. It's of the highest importance.
With great respect -- since we're in the final days and hours of an election in India, where 700 million people are voting, and since any comment I would make might be misunderstood in that context, I would rather just simply restrict myself to saying that my job is Afghanistan and Pakistan.
But, at all steps in the process, we keep the Indians fully informed. They are not only an interested party, they are arguably "the" interested party, although many other countries, including, most notably, China and Iran, have borders with Afghanistan and have also have interests.
But, India's interests are very high. India is the great regional power, and I have great personal respect and affection for India and I keep India -- they have a new ambassador who just arrived. I met with her as soon as she was in Washington. And we will keep India fully informed. And the issues you raise are of great concern to us, but I'd -- if you'll permit me, I'd like to stop at that point.
SEN. CASEY: Mr. Ambassador, thank you very much.
SEN. KAUFMAN: Mr. Ambassador, I made a policy, since I've been here, not to have long statements but to just ask questions. But, I think I've got to break that policy. Every policy should be broken.
I think your patience to listen to my colleagues this morning has been exemplary. I mean, just absolutely exemplary. I think, to sit here and criticize what's gone on in the last eight years, as if you are responsible for it -- and how much time you and the president have spent articulating what the plan is in Afghanistan and what the plan is in Pakistan, shows patience of Job, frankly, to do it.
I think it's quite clear what's going on, and that's what I'd like to confirm -- some of these things. Number one, in Afghanistan, I don't know how we could have a more specific plan, and what it is that we're going to be doing, in terms of -- I agree with the comments about there could be problems with the Taliban and al-Qaeda moving over to Pakistan, but we have to go into Helmand and Kandahar provinces in order to do (what we do ?), and we have a plan to do it.
So, I think the plan that you and David Petraeus -- and when Ambassador Eikenberry gets there, I think we've got the right people on the ground, new people on the ground to do that job.
Pakistan: I think people are not reading the newspaper the last month. I really think that -- you know, I just don't think they've read what's happened in the Pakistan. I was in Pakistan, and it was quite clear to me that there was a seachange going on over there. Essentially, in the past we've gone to them and said, would you please help us in the FATA areas? Would you please help us, because it's in our interest?
I think what's happened in the Swat Valley is they now understand it's in their interest to do this. They now are the ones challenged. That is a world-class difference. And to talk about Pakistan without realizing or discussing the fact that there's been a change of will in the government, I think just doesn't deal with the realities as they change on the ground.
So, the first thing I want to say is, in my discussions with President Zardari and Prime Minister Gillani I came away with a much altered understanding of what their problem is, and what they were -- what their will was to actually deal with that problem. Is that a fair summation?
MR. HOLBROOKE: Yes, it is.
And I appreciate your comments about patience. I've testified a lot, and I'm perfectly comfortable receiving the views of the people elected by the population to represent them. But, what is frustrating, frankly, is to be held accountable for a GAO report which I happen to agree with.
That's a little bit difficult, because we're using the GAO report as one of our guides. And because I stopped a kind of a "automatic pilot" -- when I came into office that was the first issue that came to me, Senator Kaufman. "We got -- we have this terrible GAO report. We got to rebut it point by point." I said, why? Why should we rebut it? Why don't we learn from it? That happened on the second day I was in the job.
So, I want to put that on the record because we want to work with you. And I want to reiterate my strong view that SIGAR -- a very little-known creation of the Congress, either last year or '07, I don't remember when -- is a great potential tool for us to work together in an organization which is essentially the Legislative Branch's presence in Afghanistan.
And if you expand its geographic scope, or you expand its mandate to help the Afghans fight corruption, you will be helping our nation -- and while keeping the separation of powers. I want to respect that, because every time I see General Fields he says, "I don't work for you." And I said, I know, but we all are Americans. He's a retired major general; he's a very patriotic man. But, I hope you will look carefully at SIGAR.
SEN. KAUFMAN: The other question is, when I went to Pakistan three weeks ago I was concerned about their will -- that, basically, you know, they have the troops up on the Indian border; FATA, (they) had never been in the area they were concerned about, it doesn't really affect them and their lives, it hasn't affected them for hundreds and hundreds of years -- the people in the FATA have been very difficult (to handle ?).
So, I went with kind of a "will" problem. After what occurred in the Swat Valley, I became concerned about a capability problem. What do you think the capability is of the Pak military -- Pakistan military to actually deal with the Taliban and what the Taliban is doing now?
MR. HOLBROOKE: We don't think they have enough forces in the West. We've said so publicly. We're glad that they're starting to focus on that issue, but it's not enough. It's not fast enough.
Secondly, their training has been excessively for a conventional war against the East, and not enough for a counterinsurgency. Third, the ethnic issue, I addressed earlier, is a concern. Fourth, we think the Frontier Corps deserves much more attention. And I think your chairman made it clear he shares that view. So, we have a lot of work to do here.
But, it do want to address one point that was stated earlier by one of your colleagues. I don't think we're looking at a takeover of Pakistan by religious extremists from the Pashtun Belt. The Pashtun are a minority in Pakistan and the overwhelming majority of people do not want that to happen. It would be much more dangerous if the militancy became embedded among the Punjabis.
SEN. KAUFMAN: I traveled up to the FATA and met with the -- saw what the, the training for the Frontier Corps. If we appropriate this money, how soon do you think we can actually have an effect on the Frontier Corps -- expanding the Frontier Corps and increasing their training?
MR. HOLBROOKE: Immediately. Because it would be our highest priority to get that money through the pipeline and into the hands of the Americans and the Pakistanis on the front lines in Peshawar and west of Peshawar.
SEN. KAUFMAN: Finally, I served on the Broadcasting Board of Governors for 13 years. In answer to your question about strategic broadcasting, I can't pass by saying -- without saying, we have a 71 percent listenership in Iraq to Broadcasting Board of Governor broadcasts. We have a 56 percent listenership in Afghanistan, and we have about 10 percent in Pakistan.
The biggest single problem is getting the government, which I now think is ready to do it -- and you could help, allowing us to be on the air, on the services, the distribution of what our programming is. So, I was in the FATA. I know about we're putting FM stations in there. The big problem you're going to find -- which we found our in Kosovo, we found our in Serbia, is providing programming that will really affect the people.
We threw away a considerable amount of money in Iraq, trying to do what I hear the Defense Department is trying to do now in Pakistan -- you might want to go back and see how that worked, and, as I say, we've ended up now with a 76 percent broadcasting.
So, I say, I would look to the Broadcasting Board of Governors as a way -- to what they're doing, and see how we can expand the program and the distribution in Pakistan.
MR. HOLBROOKE: Thank you for that.
I did not know you served on the BBG, and I'm very pleased to hear it. I believe that a meeting is going on right now at the White House about this subject. The BBG was in the list of items I sent them to be discussed.
What I'd like to do -- if you would agree, Senator, would be to send our team up here to the Hill to talk to you about how you think we could get this going. It's very important. And it also involves Voice of America --
SEN. KAUFMAN: Yeah.
MR. HOLBROOKE: But, in the end, the primary vehicle should not be American radio, it should be local radio. But, Americans should support it.
SEN. KAUFMAN: Yeah. The problem you're going to find with local radio is getting the programming. Anyway, thank you very much for your comments. And with that, I will adjourn the hearing today.